4 Essex boys all dressed in black, bounce on to the stage with the unenviable task of warming up a Frank Turner audience. Fortunately tonight’s crowd are well up for it. A late addition to the tour, Sierra Leonian hip hop artist Mash P, has already entertained the early comers who got in early. By all accounts it was a great set but too early for me at 6:45pm. Truck Stop Honeymoon are on stage when I finally get in the venue. Described as a “high energy two-piece band with banjo, guitar, upright bass and a truckful of songs”, they deliver a blend of rockabilly swamp blues, keeping the adrenaline on the down low, ready for Pet Needs to turn up the heat on the headliners.
Singer Johnny Marritt wastes no time in metaphorically hanging out Jack the drummer to dry, telling us of his inability to complete tour laundry satisfactorily and having to perform in damp underwear. Jack takes it in his strides!!!
The band are good friends with Frank, who mixed and mastered their debut album Fractured Party Music in 2021. Now in the depths of their 2nd Album Primetime Entertainment, released earlier this year on Xtra Mile Recordings, they have wowed fans across the US supporting Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls, honing their craft. That solid slog across America seems to have honed their sound to perfection, a mix of anthemic power pop-punk and emo, whilst retaining that British edginess.
There’s a nice little story about how they finally quit their day jobs to go full time with the band. That must truly have been a great feeling to lose the wage slave shackles of a 9-5, duly appreciated by us all. Their songs strike a note with the fans, with their easily identifiable sentiments chiming a loud lyrical bell.
With most of their songs clocking in at less than 3 minutes, it doesn’t take long to crash through a 10-song set and Johnny is off the stage and at the barrier in the first couple. Highly entertaining and deserving of bigger stages like this. One suspects that when they return in 2023, after their own December headline tour of smaller venues, they’ll be selling out 300-500 capacity halls with ease.
A nice little touch a few songs from the end of the set, when Johnny turns marketing man telling us that there are only 28 tickets left for their next Manchester show on 14th Dec at Gullivers NQ. Informs us that this is usually the point of the night people get their phones out and snap up tickets. This morning I checked the ticket outlets and it’s “Sold Out”. Smart move!
PET NEEDS Headline Tour Dec 2022
06/12/22 Birmingham Dead Wax
07/12/22 Cardiff Clwb Ifor Bach
08/12/22 Bristol Exchange
12/12/22 Southampton Joiners
13/12/22 Leeds Hyde Park Book Club
14/12/22 Manchester Gullivers
15/12/22 Nottingham The Bodega Social Club
16/12/22 Colchester Arts Centre